Gentilhomme Gets Nod For Digital Content Work At JFK Airport’s New Terminal One

March 26, 2024 by Dave Haynes

A good example of the lengthy lead times involved in experiential digital in public spaces is word that the visual design and creative teams have been announced for work that won’t be seen for another two years, when what’s called New Terminal One at JFK Airport in New York is expected to open its first new departure gates.

Airport owner the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey is putting $19 billion into an all-new international terminal, as well as expansions and upgrades on existing terminal space and the surrounding road network – with the first 14 gates scheduled to open in 2026 and a total of 23 by 2030, when the project is targeted to be fully done.

New Terminal One is also abbreviated to NTO.

The design consultancy Arup was engaged to pull together and lead a set of designers and curators known collectively as the XD team. That team includes Montreal’s Gentilhomme, which has been winning piles of awards and recognition for its work at the airports in Orlando and Nashville, and will be somewhat familiar to the digital signage community.

Gentilhomme is responsible for digital content design and production.

I did a podcast recently with founder Thibaut Duverneix …

In addition to leading the team and strategically developing the program, Arup is leading the digital experience design. Culture Corps will be the lead curator for the NTO art program. Pentagram’s Eddie Opara is developing the corporate brand for JFK NTO and leading brand experience development for the terminal, with support from WSDIA and Queens-based Karlssonwilker.

From an Arup piece about the work:

With the goal of evoking a powerful sense of place that is distinctly New York, the team is weaving together a compelling locally inspired and universally inspiring story told throughout the passenger journey. The carefully curated environment will include elements like dynamic digital signage, art installations, and a cohesive brand identity under the umbrella of JFK’s overall branding guidelines.

“Public art that is inspiring and evocative of our region is an essential part of the Port Authority’s strategy to create world-class airports that are becoming destinations in their own right,” says Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “Just as we have done at LaGuardia and at Newark-Liberty’s Terminal A, the art, branding and digital experience at JFK’s New Terminal One will create a sense of place unique to New York, while providing travelers with treasured Instagram moments.”

“The public identity of the New Terminal One at JFK International Airport must reflect its home and our values, which means a stellar NTO art program to serve as an extension of JFK’s home city or a sneak peek for our international friends into their final destination — our region,” says  Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “The art, the branding and the signage must work together to deliver the modern 21st century airport experience that the new JFK will offer.”

“Our world-class terminal will set a new benchmark in customer experience and redefine international travel to and from JFK — the global gateway to our nation,” says Dr. Gerrard P. Bushell, the president and CEO of NTO. “The New Terminal One’s art and branding will play an important role in creating memorable experiences for all who pass through our doors. When guests arrive at The New Terminal One, they will know immediately — this is New York.”

Ownership and control of JFK and its many terminals is complicated, so let’s turn this over briefly to Wikipedia to explain NTO:

In October 2018, Cuomo released details of a $13 billion plan to rebuild passenger facilities and approaches to JFK Airport. Two all-new international terminals would be built. One of the terminals, a $7 billion, 2.8-million-square-foot (260-thousand-square-metre), 23-gate structure replacing Terminals 1, 2 and the vacant space of Terminal 3. It will connect to Terminal 4, and it would be financed and built by a partnership between Munich Airport GroupLufthansaAir FranceKorean Air, and Japan Airlines. Of these 23 gates, all are international gates, 22 are wide-body gates (4 can accommodate an Airbus A380), and 1 is a narrow-body gate. This would also require reconfiguring new roads to accommodate the new terminal. 

On December 13, 2021, New York Governor Kathy Hochul gave a further update on the plans to build a new Terminal 1, which in a further developed form would cost US$9.5 billion. The new facility is inspired by the new Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport. The new terminal will have New York City-inspired art, similar to Terminal B at LGA. Once Terminal 2 is demolished and Delta’s regional flights are transferred to an expanded Terminal 4, the New Terminal 1 will begin construction and will then open in phases with the first 14 gates on its east side along with the departures and arrivals hall scheduled to open in 2026 on the site of the demolished Terminal 2. The current Terminal 1 will then be demolished, and in its place, the next five gates on the west side of the terminal will open in 2028, and the final four gates will open in 2030. An additional extension of the terminal on its west side with a further four gates (with an extra A380 gate) has been proposed in the event of excess traffic. The project broke ground on September 8, 2022.

So this is kinda sorta but not directly related to work at Terminal 4, which is now opening up and has some great utilitarian digital signage that is the opposite of the experiential digital that these NTO design team will cook up and deliver.

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